Today is Independence Day, 4th of July, the 237th 238th Birthday of America. Most people have the day off and a lot of them are taking Friday off as well to have a long weekend and hang out with family and friends. For me it’s a good opportunity to enjoy the day off and share with you what I love about this country.
Nice and friendly people
I’m used to Germany and the German mentality. And although I love my home country I can’t help but notice how friendly and helpful people in America are wherever you are. You get compliments from total strangers, people offer their help if they think you might need it and they go out of their way to make sure your kids are comfortable and have fun. There are people like that in Germany too, don’t get me wrong, just not as many as in the U.S.
Compared to Germany it’s easier to land a job in America, just based on the fact that there’s opportunity on every corner. You shouldn’t be too picky though and adjust your expectations if necessary. Just be flexible. You can get a job pretty fast, however, you can also lose it in a heart beat if your employer doesn’t need you anymore. It’s also more likely that hard work is going to be rewarded by either a promotion or a raise. A great job performance and good work ethic definitely pays off.
Traveling without leaving the country
There’s a good reason why only 39% of Americans have a passport according to recent statistics of the State Department (January 2013). This country is so large and comes with so many attractions and places to see – enough for a life time. Americans don’t have to leave their country to enjoy beautiful beaches, mountains or land marks. They have it all here and they can travel there in their own car or hop on the plane by just showing their driver’s license as a form of photo ID. Even some cruises to the Caribbean don’t necessarily require a passport as long as you stay on the ship, because it’s considered a closed loop if you depart and return at a U.S. port. So why bother paying for a passport that just needs to be renewed all the time?
Meeting people from all over the world
America is still the Melting Pot of the World and according to Wiki Answers there are 254 countries in the world and 198 different nationalities live in the U.S. That is pretty awesome and it’s not uncommon to have friends from many different countries. The fact that English is the world’s most widely used language makes it easy to get to know people from many different cultures and backgrounds. Also, they all went through a similar immigration process, so you have something in common right from the start. A great conversation starter! Want to learn more about immigrants and their journey through immigration? Check out my Success Stories series.
A lot of countries are so small that they have the same climate all year long and residents just have to accept it, no matter in what region they live in. America has pretty much everything that you can imagine and you can pick the climate of your choice. Mountains, flat land, beaches, deserts, rocky coasts, tropical weather, cold and windy weather with lots of snow, you can have it all in the USA. In my case the job made this decision for my family, but we love the weather in North Carolina, which has mild winters, a handful snow days a year, if any, and pretty hot and humid summers. And mountains and beaches are within a 2–3 hour reach.
Kid friendly places
Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again, especially when I see all these playgrounds and very kid friendly places in the U.S. Wherever we travel, there is always something for kids there, so that they can play and enjoy the trip as well. I’ve also never received a grim look when I’ve asked if my daughter can use the bathroom in stores or restaurants that we’re not a customer of. There’s not a “for customer only” mentality like in other countries. People, as mentioned above are also extremely friendly with other people’s kids and always make them feel comfortable, even though they don’t know you.
Convenience is A-W-E-S-O-M-E
I used to make fun of Americans with all their drive-thrus at restaurants, banks and pharmacies, because it just looked as if they don’t want to walk or get out of their perfectly air conditioned car. But the older I get, the more valuable my time is to me. So now I really appreciate all these drive thrus, because they do save a lot of time for common errands like picking up a prescription or getting some cash from the ATM. Call me Americanized but these features allow me to spend my time with more useful things than standing in line in a bank or store. Did I mention that stores are open on Sundays and some even 24/7? It’s a lot less stressful to have unlimited shopping hours at your disposal.
Even though Germany offers a pretty decent lifestyle compared to other countries, I am enjoying an even better lifestyle here in America. Land is cheap, because there’s just a ton of it here and housing is relatively cheap as well. Construction is not as good as in Germany, but you can build a very spacious house for just a slice of what it would be in Germany. Actually, land in Germany alone can cost as much as a house here in the United States.
America does have its challenges with major debt just being one of them. But still, I live a happier life here and I enjoy every moment of it.
So this is it, my love letter to America that only scratched the surface of all the things I like about it.
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About This Blog
Hi, I'm Dan and I came to America in 2005 as a trailing spouse.
With this blog I share my thoughts and experience about the expat life in America. No matter if you're a new or veteran expat or just love everything USA, you'll find plenty of tips and ideas in this blog. Enjoy!